With a bit of luck, Storey County's water system will be back in operation tonight.
Department of Transportation crews found the break in the Marlette system water line that feeds Virginia City this morning " at the edge of Highway 395 north near Lakeview Hill.
County Emergency Services manager Joe Curtis said they feared the break would be under the highway, requiring extensive digging and disruption of traffic to find and repair it. Instead, he said it is two feet into the right of way beneath the shoulder of the road.
"It's been dug around and exposed," he said. "We're waiting for the welder to come up and tell us what he's got to do to patch it."
Virginia City, Silver City and Gold Hill have been with limited water since Monday afternoon when the line ruptured. More than 1,100 residents were told to use as little water a possible until repairs are completed on the 140-year-old line because those areas only have the water available in the system's storage tanks.
The 12-inch diameter main was built in the 1860s to bring water from Marlette Lake to the Comstock. Much of it is still the original pipe.
Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman, said a crew discovered the break at Lakeview Hill just north of Carson City at about 3 p.m. Monday.
"There was water gushing out and they knew there was a serious problem with the line."
He said they now tell him the pipe should be repaired within a few hours.
Curtis said after that, it will take about three hours to flush any dirt and contaminants out of the system, then they can begin refilling the storage tanks.
"Hopefully, we're back in operation tonight," he said.
- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.